Summary: Part 4 of 6...parenting

1A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. 2The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all. 3The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it. 4The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. 5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; the cautious will keep far from them. 6Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:1 - 6 (NRSV)

It’s a difficult world! Raising children isn’t getting any easier. Gerber Foods has a toll-free baby help line (1-800-4GERBER). It is supposed to help first time moms with their questions. One lady called in and asked,

My baby ate the coupon, Can I still redeem it?

Parenting certainly is not a science -- it’s an art. Those who think they have somehow graduated to expert status are like the picture of the elegantly dressed woman who is holding a cup of coffee. Her little finger is cocked ever so daintily to the side, and her face reveals utter self-confidence. Unfortunately she doesn’t realize that her slip has collapsed around her ankles. The caption reads, Confidence is what you have before you understand the situation! [1]

Confidence is actually a good thing; self-confidence reeks.

How can we develop appropriate confidence for raising children? Proverbs 22.6 is a wonderful place to start. The words of this little verse are that to which every Christian Mom and Dad should cling.

. 6Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

The Process of Christian Parenting

The process is to train a child. This is a primary root word, which means to narrow, or throttle. The throttle controls engine speed. That’s a good analogy for dealing with hyper-active children!

Narrowing the focus of what a child learns flies in the face of today’s fad that lets children grow up very quickly. Training, however, is the art of bringing along a child in the art of being a person. That takes --


Athletes train with varying degrees of discipline. Those who are highly motivated go to higher levels of proficiency. Those with low motivation hire a personal trainer. This describes a parent. You are the personal trainer to which God has entrusted the training of a child.

At a church in Kansas there is a set of baby footprints in the sidewalk. The feet are pointed in the direction of the front door. The meaning is hard to miss -- Get them started early.


Railroad train cars follow the leader. And in such ways children are trained as well. Abraham Lincoln said that for a man to train up a child in the way he should go, he must walk that way himself. Trainers have not only been there, Mom, and Dad, they have not forgotten the way. Your children will copy what he sees you do, sooner than he will heed what he hears.

A lady was cleaning her house and singing Gospel songs as she worked. She began singing Soon and very soon, we are going to see the king. Her little son was in the next room and began singing along with Mom. Something was a little off, however, so Mom stopped to listen. The preschooler’s version, Soon, and very soon, we are going to Burger King. [2] A Christian parent demonstrates, and also checks the level of communication!


Training wheels on a bicycle are for guiding and giving assistance until the skill of riding is learned. In the same way parents must give attention to keeping their little ones afloat.

The Purpose of Christian Training

There are many books available on the process, the methodology of being a Christian parent. The Proverb writer focused also on the purpose -- the substance of why we take such pains to be Christian parents. We are to train them in the way they should go. The way is a word that is used metaphorically to describe a pathway through life. It comes from a root word that depicts stringing a bow. This picture becomes clearer when we consider the object of way; Go is the Hebrew peh, or mouth/breath, which, in the ancient world was the same as the deeds of a life. The word spoken was the deed done.

Put together, this phrase, the way he should go, becomes something like, Bend the bow the way it must point, and eventually fire the arrow. When you apply the metaphor to a young child, the old adage, (As the twig is bent) comes to mind. The Proverb writer is using a Hebrew idiom to describe the purpose of training, to wit:

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